US Air Force places $9 million order for 18,000 iPads

By , Mar 2, 2012

The iPad is already being used in the cockpits of American Airlines aircraft, and soon it will be given pride of place aboard US Air Force planes, too.

We told you recently how the United States Air Force was looking into a bulk purchase of tablets, and it appears that Apple’s iPad has been chosen to replace weighty in-flight manuals and other documentation aboard C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster aircrafts.

The order, potentially reaching 18,000 iPads, is worth $9.36m to Executive Technology Inc., a Phoenix-based computer services company…

Captain Kathleen Ferrero, a military spokesperson said that the new digital flight bags would “help crews operate more effectively and safely, and support the Pentagon’s efficiency goals.”

The particular iPad expected to be ordered is said to retail at $599 and sport 32GB of storage which means it will be the WiFi-only version, assuming Apple doesn’t change its pricing structure with the iPad 3 release. While the device does retail for just shy of $600, the Air Force will pay just $520 per unit based on the deal it has agreed.

While the exact number of iPads to be ordered is not yet know, the maximum order is for 18,000 units, with Ferrero saying that the order is “contingent upon funding requests and approval.”

[Bloomberg]

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  • Anonymous

    So, my “obvious” question is WHY does the US Military have to purchase these 18,000 iPads through a 3rd Party vendor “Executive Technology Inc.” of Phoenix, AZ???

    Anyone have any idea why they are not just purchasing 18,000 new iPads directly from Apple??? I’m sure Apple would say “yes” and probably be able to offer a much better price than $520.00 each!

    Any Ideas?……..

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      I’ll tell you why. When I first moved to the US, I was a contractor for the Department of Defense, so I have a fairly good grasp on the process.

      When the government is looking to buy something (anything), they put Request For Quotes (RFQ) online on dedicated sites. Then it’s up to companies to submit their bids.

      Each RFQ is extremely precise about what the government wants and how it wants it packaged, shipped, and delivered. For example, I could very well imagine that the US Air Force wanted 18,000 iPads, that came each individually packaged with bubble wrap and each in its own carton box, with very specific labeling for each iPad and box.

      After receiving the various bids, the government usually picks the cheapest price.

      So it’s not like the Government would call Apple and say “hey we want to buy iPads”. First, the Government HAS TO submit an RFQ and wait for companies to bid. The company selling the iPads isn’t automatically the one you’d think (Apple), likely because Apple doesn’t want to have to deal with a bunch of specifications related to selling to the Government. At the end of the day, Apple know it will sell its iPads anyways.

      Does that make sense?

  • Anonymous

    So, my “obvious” question is WHY does the US Military have to purchase these 18,000 iPads through a 3rd Party vendor “Executive Technology Inc.” of Phoenix, AZ???

    Anyone have any idea why they are not just purchasing 18,000 new iPads directly from Apple??? I’m sure Apple would say “yes” and probably be able to offer a much better price than $520.00 each!

    Any Ideas?……..

  • http://twitter.com/Dongiuj Giulio

    My obvious question is, why does any military need iPads? That sounds like a perfect waste of TAX payer’s money.

  • Damion Hammock

    I guess it is okay for the military to purchase electronics manufactured in China. It seems risky to me, but I am probably just being paranoid.

  • http://twitter.com/neilsardesai Neil Sardesai

    But…the iPad 3′s coming out March 7th. Why’d they waste so much money on iPad 2′s?

  • http://www.facebook.com/m.bougere40 MacArthur Jermaine Bougeré

    Wow

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1837880625 Brent Edney

    As someone who works on C-5′s I can tell you this would be a very welcome change… Air Force T.O.’s or Technical Order manuals are very bulky heavy guides and one iPad or maybe two per aircraft would take up less space and weigh considerably less. Smart move by the Air Force.